James Brown, 46 others cleared by court after been accused of homos3xuality

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A judge in Lagos has thrown out the homosexuality charge preferred against popular crossdresser James Brown and 46 other men due to a lack of diligent prosecution.

The men were charged with public displays of affection with members of the same-s3x.

In Nigeria, homosexuality is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

The men were arrested in a police raid on a Lagos hotel in Egbeda in 2018.

Police said the men were being initiated into a gay club but the defendants said they were at the hotel attending a birthday party.

The decision of the court has ended what had widely been seen as a test of Nigeria’s laws banning same-s3x relationships.

Prosecution and defense lawyers in the case had told Reuters that nobody had yet been convicted under the law, which led to the case of the men being widely seen as a test case that could help to establish the burden of proof.

Prosecutors failed to attend Tuesday’s hearing at the Federal High Court in Lagos, having previously failed to present some of their witnesses in a case that had been adjourned on several occasions.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa struck out the case and said he had done so due to the “lack of diligent prosecution”.

Reacting to the judgment, it was jubilation galore outside the court, many of the men smiled and cheered including James Brown, who expressed joy, “I am free. It means a lot of good things.”